Microscopic colitis is a disease of the large intestine or colon. It is an inflammation of the colon, which cannot be visible to the naked eyes. It is not seen in regular colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy procedures. This inflammation is only visible when a sample of the affected tissue is checked with a microscope.
What Is The Recovery Period For Microscopic Colitis?
According to some studies, most of the persons suffering from this disease experience a full recovery in maximum three years. In many cases, recovery is seen without any treatment, all by itself. In some cases, microscopic colitis recurs and there are repeated episodes of watery diarrhea again after some years of complete relief. In some cases, symptoms like cramps and pain in the abdomen may still be persistent, even after the course of treatment is fully completed. As can be seen from these facts, the recovery from this disease may vary from person to person.
The present line of treatment aims at lowering the symptoms of microscopic colitis thereby improving the quality of life as there is no cure for the disease known till now. The treatment may include one or many of the following factors-
- Anti-diarrheal medicines may be prescribed to reduce the diarrhea.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines are given to reduce the inflammation in the colon.
- Medicines that block the bile acids may also be recommended, as some studies show an association between malabsorption of bile acids and inflammation of colon.
- Immune suppressants may be advised.
- Steroids are recommended to stop the diarrhea and reduce the inflammation if other medicines do not work, especially in severe cases.
- Surgery is not needed, except on rarest of rare occasions.
- The types of microscopic colitis are – collagenous and lymphocytic colitis.
- Collagenous microscopic colitis is caused when there is a formation of a thick layer of collagen, a protein, in the tissue of the large intestine. An increase in lymphocytes number can also be seen.
- Lymphocytic microscopic colitis is caused when there is an increase in the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells) in the tissue of large intestine.
- In both the types, lymphocytes number is seen to be increased.
Symptoms of Microscopic Colitis
Microscopic colitis can exhibit one or many of the following symptoms-
- There is diarrhea that is chronic and watery in nature. The diarrhea may be profuse. Also, it is persistent and at times may be explosive.
- Some people with microscopic colitis may suffer from abdominal cramps and pain also.
- In some cases, nausea with a loss of appetite is also seen.
- An unwanted weight loss can be seen in many people, as there is low food intake as well as watery diarrhea.
- Many people experience dehydration due to loss of fluids.
- As a result of dehydration, there might be headache.
- Fecal incontinence is seen.
- There might be bloating and gassy feeling in the stomach when one has microscopic colitis
- Blood is usually not present in the stools, unlike in ulcerative colitis.
- If one experiences diarrhea for more than two weeks, it is advisable to consult a physician immediately.
Prevention of Microscopic Colitis
As the cause of the disease is still not known, it is difficult to mention any guidelines as to what the possible methods of prevention of this disease would be.
There is no cure for microscopic colitis presently. However, it is treatable; and the symptoms can be managed with various dietary and lifestyle modifications and proper treatment. Microscopic colitis may affect the quality of life in some cases and the recovery period may vary from person to person. However, it seldom causes any serious or life-threatening complications.